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Mike Pence: Remarks by the Vice President at an Armed Forces Day Celebration at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio
Mike Pence
Remarks by the Vice President at an Armed Forces Day Celebration at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio
May 20, 2017
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THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, all. Thank you, General.

It is Armed Forces Day 2017. And on behalf of your Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Trump, I'm just here to say thank you for your service in the Armed Forces of the United States of America! Every American is grateful and every American is proud. (Applause.)

You can sit down and relax. I've got a few things to say. I want to thank General Berry. Thank you for welcoming us here today. And on behalf of President Trump, thank you for your resolute leadership here at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. General, we are truly grateful for your outstanding leadership here.

Let me also thank General Duke Richardson, General Randall Ogden, Colonel Adam Willis, Colonel Bradley McDonald, Chief Master Sergeant Kathlina Racine for the warm welcome to this historic field. This is an outstanding leadership team at Wright-Patterson, and we are grateful for their leadership. (Applause.)

I'm also so pleased to be joined today by two outstanding public servants from here in the great state of Ohio -- Congressman Warren Davidson, who is a West Point graduate and an Army veteran. Thank you, Congressman. Thank you for joining us on Armed Forces Day. (Applause.)

And a man I served with when I was in the House of Representatives, Congressman Mike Turner, who is actually chairman of the Tactical Air Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee and a great, great champion of our armed forces for now nearly two decades in the Congress. Congressman Mike Turner, thank you. (Applause.)

And to all the men and women of the United States Air Force and your families, it is an honor to be here with all of you today. My wife was born on an Air Force base you'll be glad to know as her father served in uniform. (Applause.)

We're so proud of you all and grateful to be here on this special day and this special place.

And really as I said before I'm just here on President Trump's behalf while he's on the other side of the world -- simply to say thank you.

The Good Book tells us, if you owe debts, pay debts. If honor, then honor. If respect, then respect.

And today is merely one more installment on behalf of the American people on a debt of honor and the debt of gratitude we'll never be able to fully repay to all of you who served.

I can't think of a better place to celebrate Armed Forces Day here at Wright-Pat. Just two days from now, I'm told, Wright Field will celebrate its 100th birthday. And since 1948, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has been crucial to United States' security and our national defense.

In fact, today the research and development and testing that happens here ensures the unquestioned dominance of the United States Air Force in the skies across the world. Wright-Pat, thank you. (Applause.)

But thanks to all those who are stationed here -- 5,200 active duty servicemembers; 1,900 reservists. And today is your day. Since 1950, the third Saturday in the month of May has been set aside as a time for all Americans to join together and show the profound gratitude that we all feel each and every day to the men and women of our armed forces.

And President Trump is proud to continue that tradition this year. In honor of Armed Forces Day, the President issued a proclamation in his words to "salute the bravery of those who defend our nation's peace and security." And salute you, we do.

Today, in communities large and small on Main Streets and meeting halls, in homes, and in hearts, and in gatherings at military bases across the nation, the American people are taking a moment to pause, to say thank you to you heroes who protect our freedom, our families, and our very way of life.

And to every American that's looking on, I say if you see a member of our armed forces on Armed Forces Day, make sure you just reach out your hand and say those most deserving of words to this all-volunteer military: Thank you for your service to the United States of America. (Applause.)

You're part of the cord of service that stretches back into the midst of American history. In every generation, the sons and daughters of liberty from every corner of our country have answered the call of duty and answered it with courage and self-sacrifice and commitment. Their service and their sacrifice kept the flame of freedom alive in their time, and now you've stepped up and stepped forward to defend our freedom in your time.

You are among the rest of us, but make no mistake about it, you are the best of us. And so are all of your brothers and sisters stationed around the wider world.

Today nearly 1.3 million Americans are serving in active duty in the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. Another 800,000 Americans stand ready in our reserves. But wherever they are at home or abroad, the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States stand stall and stand together. And you form the unbreakable backbone of American freedom. (Applause.)

Today we recognize what you do every day, but we also recognize that you do not in many cases serve alone. So allow me to take a moment to say thank you to the family members who serve beside you, stand behind you. Let's give thanks to the families of our armed forces, especially those that are with us today. (Applause.)

The truth is that while our servicemembers enlist, it's a family that serves, isn't it? It's family that makes the sacrifices. And know today that the family members who are here, the spouses, the children, the grandchildren, you have the gratitude of our Commander-in-Chief and every American.

My wife and I know a little bit of what it's like to be in a military family. While neither of us wore the uniform, our fathers both served in the military. And we're the proud parents of a United States Marine who happens to be an aviator. So that's close the Air Force, right?

I couldn't be more grateful as the proud parents of a member of our military to serve a President who is so dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces, their families, and our veterans. And I want to assure you, President Donald Trump is fighting tirelessly every day, and we will rebuild our military, restore the arsenal of democracy, and we will once again as a nation give our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources and training you deserve to accomplish your mission and come home safe. (Applause.)

And with the strong support of President Trump and our armed forces, we'll give you the resources to accomplish that paramount mission of combating and defeating the terrorist threat to our nation in ISIS.

And today because of our armed forces, I'm pleased to report ISIS is on the run, and we will not rest, we will not relent until we hunt down and destroy ISIS at its source so you can eliminate the threat to our nation and to our allies in the years ahead. (Applause.)

You'll be glad to know as members of our armed forces, earlier this month, President Trump signed at $21 billion increase in funding for our armed forces. It was the biggest investment in military readiness in nearly 10 years. And President Trump is working with leaders in Congress, like those that are gathered here today. And in the coming budget that will be unveiled this next week, we're going to propose the largest increase in defense spending since the days of Ronald Reagan. (Applause.)

With the strong support that you all deserve and receive in the Congress of the United States, our President is going to make the strongest fighting force in history even stronger still. And with renewed American strength, President Trump is standing with our allies and standing up to our enemies.

At this very moment, President Trump is overseas renewing America's role as leader of the free world. As we speak today, the President is in Saudi Arabia, strengthening our alliances across the Arab world. In just a few days, he'll be in Israel. He'll close out his trip in Europe, where our President will reaffirm America's commitment to our treaty allies in NATO.

President Trump has no higher priority than the safety and security of the American people. And I know in my heart -- serving with him as I do every day -- that President Donald Trump will be the best friend the Armed Forces of America will have ever had in the White House. (Applause.)

He will faithfully support you just as you have faithfully stood forward to defend our nation and the precious gift of freedom.

But today, all of America celebrates the men and women of our armed forces. You are patriots, all. You're heroes. Not just to your families and your community, but to every American. Frankly, you're the pride of the American people, the best among us, and we're grateful one and all.

To wear the uniform of the United States of America plain and simple is to earn the eternal appreciation and the prayers of the American people. And be confident of this: On this Armed Forces Day, your Commander-in-Chief and every American who lives under the protection that you provide will stand up this day and simply offer a word of thanks. And we salute you for your service.

We pray today God's protection on you as you serve and defend this nation. May God bless you as you serve this, the greatest nation on Earth, and may God bless your families, and may God bless the United States of America.

Thank you all and happy Armed Forces Day! (Applause.)

Citation: Mike Pence: "Remarks by the Vice President at an Armed Forces Day Celebration at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio," May 20, 2017. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=124966.
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